# Simply essential math

**It was perfect timing for us** when we recently received the new No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials to try out. Tyler, my now-9th grader, has been wishing for a textbook-focused math for the last few months, and honestly, I’d been reluctant to provide it. He might *think* it was what he wanted, but longer, more tedious lessons would not be a positive for this active kid. And into this gulf of disparity came No-Nonsense Algebra.

**No-Nonsense Algebra doesn’t waste your time**

With short, concise, self-contained lessons, No-Nonsense Algebra is written in a way that is easy to understand and eliminates distractions. Review is built into each lesson to ensure mastery of topics. Examples are given with step-by-step solutions.

Chapter tests and a final exam allows students to measure progress. Solutions are given for all problems.

**No-Nonsense Algebra is easy on the budget**

No-Nonsense Algebra is priced at just $27.95 for the book, and it includes free access to online video lessons. I don’t think I’ve seen a year’s worth of algebra for less anywhere.

No-Nonsense Algebra is reusable; all writing is done on your own paper, answers are in the back of the book.

**No-Nonsense Algebra may also be used as a supplement**

While No-Nonsense Algebra is intended to be used as a complete program, if you find that it simply doesn’t have enough exercises, or you already have a curriculum that you love, but you’d like alternative explanations for the material, No-Nonsense Algebra is an affordable way to go. The low price allows it to be an add-on that won’t break the bank.

**What we thought about No-Nonsense Algebra**

Tyler really appreciates his teaching style in the free video lessons; he feels that he makes the material straightforward and non-threatening. The short lessons make him feel as though he won’t have to spend “all day” on math.

Me, of course, I love the price. What parent wouldn’t? In fact, I wouldn’t mind seeing more upper level math appear in this series. Affordable is always a good thing. I’m a bit concerned that the lessons might be too short for this particular student; so far, he seems to be retaining the information, but only time will tell for long-term results. The review built into each lesson may well help mitigate my concerns. His positive attitude about the lessons is a significant improvement over other alternatives.

**Algebra readiness in just one year from Math Essentials**

While No-Nonsense Algebra is the newest product from Math Essentials, other crew members were able to review Math Essentials‘ award-winning America’s Math Teacher series, a solid choice for students not yet ready for algebra. Math Essentials was developed by Rick Fisher through his experience teaching 5th and 6th grade students in a public school in California.

The goal of the program is to bring students to algebra-readiness in less than one year, and to do so in an easy-to-implement, proven system that produces dramatic results if followed according to directions.

Designed so students master and reinforce math skills in just 20 minutes a day, each lesson is short, concise, and self-contained so that students don’t have time to get bored or discouraged. Assignments include review exercises, helpful hints, sample questions, practice problems, and word problems.

Comprised of a book/DVD combination (though the items may be purchased separately if desired), there are three levels available:

- Elementary Grades 4-5, which includes whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percents, integers, geometry, charts and graphs, problem solving, ratios and proportions, probability and statistics, number theory and algebra, graphing on number lines, and coordinate systems. [Table of Contents] [Sample Pages]$33.95 set (Or individually: $15.95 book, $24.95 DVD)
- Middle Grades/ High School, which covers whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percents, integers, geometry, charts and graphs, and problem solving. $33.95 set (Or individually: [Table of Contents] [Sample Pages]$15.95 book, $24.95 DVD)
- Pre-Algebra Concepts, for those about to start their first algebra class, which explores exponents, scientific notation, probability and statistics, equations, algebraic word problems, coordinate systems, and other essential topics necessary for success in algebra and beyond. [Table of Contents] [Sample Pages]$33.95 set (Or individually: $11.95 book, $24.95 DVD)

The America’s Math Teacher book and DVD collection is also available as a special introductory offer for $89.95 for all three titles.

**Skill-Specific titles from Math Essentials**

Schoolhouse Review Crew members received an additional title of their choice in the Mastering Essential Math Skills series. Targeted to specific skill areas, these titles include:

- Decimals and Percents $11.95 [Table of Contents] [Sample Pages]
- Fractions $11.95 [Table of Contents] [Sample Pages]
- Geometry $11.95 [Table of Contents] [Sample Pages]
- Problem Solving $11.95 [Table of Contents] [Sample Pages]
- Whole Numbers and Integers $11.95 [Table of Contents] [Sample Pages]

We received Mastering Essential Math Skills: Fractions. It’s set up a little bit different than the No-Nonsense Algebra book in that it is intended to be a one-time use only workbook; the pages are specifically stated as not to be photocopied. As always, if you have multiple students that you wish to use the book with, it’s always permissible to have them write on separate paper, which is what we chose to do.

Each lesson is one page, and includes review exercises from previous lessons. Each lesson begins with two sample problems for the teacher to work through with the student(s), and this is important – the success of the program relies on this step being done. The book is not teaching the skill, it’s just providing the framework for the skill to be taught within.

With that caveat, it *does* make the book exceedingly simple to use, and I’m considering purchasing additional titles for our homeschool.

Through September 30th, orders that include any of these items:

- Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 1
- Mastering Essential Math Skills Book 2
- No-Nonsense Algebra

will include a free copy of Mastering Essential Math Skills: Geometry (a $14.95 value) plus a free Homework Kit (a $4.99 value).

To see other reviews, check out the Math Essentials post at the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

***Disclaimer – As part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, our family received No-Nonsense Algebra and Mastering Essential Math Skills: Fractions so that we could provide you with an honest review of them by our family.**** *